At the beginning of the trip, I was nervous. Being surrounded by a group of complete strangers in a different country that I had no experience in is bound to spike a little anxiety. But, my nerves got cooled pretty quickly. The counselors talked us through our plans for travel, and I got to meet new people. After a long trip, we arrived in Panama City. We got to go on a tour and learn about the history of Panama, from banana production to how Panamanian church arches influenced the building of the Panama canal. I really enjoyed being immersed so deeply in a new country that I knew so little about, and being led through the streets by a local who clearly cared a lot about sharing the history of Panama.
The adventures continued as soon as we reached Bastimentos. I learned a lot about the other people who are with me on this trip, and got to go swimming off of the dock. One of the more enjoyable parts of that night was playing cards with all of my new friends. We played for nearly three hours, and by the end there were eleven of us playing, making it chaotic but truly enjoyable experience. The past two days have been mostly about team building, and today we got to go to the beach. We split into teams and had sand castle building competitions (which team 1 won), ultimate frisbee, and a game of volleyball with some locals. I loved having the ability to learn about the island and my fellow team members in such an unstructured and active way. The first two days in Panama have been amazing and I cannot wait for the two weeks to come.